Henry and Alice: Into the Wild
At the Arts Club Granville Island Stage until May 26 Tickets: 604-687-1644, artsclub.com
A couple of firsts: resounding applause when, on opening night, front of house manager Laura Eveleigh reminded us again-after the intermission-about cellphones. One had rung not once but twice during Act 1. If even one person had stood to applaud her, it might have initiated a unanimous standing O for Eveleigh. And that, I think, would have been a first.
The other first is the world premiere of Michelle Riml's Henry and Alice: Into the Wild. This one doesn't feel like much of a first, though, because Riml's Sexy Laundry introduced us to Henry and Alice in 2004. Back then they'd booked a fancy hotel room in an effort to put a little magic back into their marriage. Punchy one-liners, hopeful ending.
Well, Henry and Alice are still married and they're still trying to find the magic. He's remained stodgy and insecure; she continues to be restless. The quips don't quit. And there's another hopeful ending.
Set designer Ted Roberts provides a lush forested set with soaring cedars dripping with moss for the campsite Henry has reserved for himself and Alice after his job loss forces them to cut back on their overseas holidays.
Susinn McFarlen is, once again, Alice and, in spite of Alice's love affair with all things Martha Stewart, we like this character thanks to McFarlen's girlish charm. Andrew Wheeler is Henry and, despite Henry's crankiness, we like him, too.
Pulling it all together by taking it almost all off is Beverley Elliott, Alice's free-spirited sister Diana who offers a lot of "find your groove" advice.
Director Andrew McIlroy keeps it all going lickety-split and it's all over in 90 minutes. If funny, warm and fuzzy is what you're looking for, look no further.
-Jo Ledingham firstname.lastname@example.org